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Showing posts from September 15, 2013

Review: Kenner

Jim Brown plays a taciturn African-American sailor in India trying to track down his friend’s killer. What he does find is a young boy (the very Indian-looking and sounding Ricky Cordell) whose father is apparently an American seaman who has never come back. Anyway, Brown eventually tracks down his friend’s killer, a drug smuggler played by Charles Horvath, but he is injured when attempting to make his move. The boy and his rather sad dancer/escort mother (Madlyn Rhue) take him in, nurse him back to health, and attempt to impart some karma-laced non-violence wisdom on the vengeful man. Yeah, that’ll work on Big Jim Brown, right? He does rather take to the boy, though, after earlier treating him somewhat coldly for interfering in his mission. Robert Coote plays Horvath’s wily British cohort.

Jim Brown is best known as a former gridiron star and blaxploitation icon, but unlike the Fred Williamson’s and Pam Grier’s of the blaxploitation movement, Brown’s movie career started pre-blaxploi…

Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Nic Cage is back as hog-riding, devil-dealing Johnny Blaze, and for some reason this film finds him in Eastern Europe (Turkey and Romania, apparently), and attempting to keep his demonic alter-ego in check (See what I did there?). A French-accented monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) offers Blaze a job in exchange for freeing Johnny from his curse. He needs to locate and protect a young boy (Fergus Riordan), who just so happens to be the Son of the Devil. Well, the son of the Devil’s human vessel, Roarke (Ciaran Hinds) anyway. It’s the boy’s 13th birthday soon and Johnny needs to get to the kid before Roarke, who has evil plans for the boy upon his birthday (Apparently at this stage, he’s just a naughty boy). Johnny Whitworth plays Roarke’s albino chief henchman, Violante Placido is the boy’s earthly mother, whilst Anthony Head and a facially tattooed Christopher Lambert play monks.

If you’re the kind of person who relies on reviews to tell you whether something is worth seeing or not, you…

Review: Kung Fu Hustle

Set in early 1940s China, Stephen Chow plays a thief who along with his fat buddy wants to join the notorious and feared Axe Gang, who rule most of the country. Only the poorest areas appear to be free of the Axe Gang (what would be the point in raiding people who have nothing?), so Chow, being the opportunistic twit that he is, decides to impersonate an Axe Gang member to extort the locals of Pig Sty Alley for money (What money, you dumbarse?). Unfortunately, the locals are better at martial arts than Chow, and basically kick his arse. In fact, a couple of legit kung fu masters are hiding in Pig Sty Alley, namely Landlord (Yuen Wah) and Landlady (Yuen Qiu, who was once a Bond girl in “The Man With the Golden Gun”!). Things get...erm, awkward when the real Axe Gang turn up, and they also hire some assassins posing as musicians (in a really cool sequence) to dispense with the two formidable kung fu masters. Leung Siu-lung (who reminded me of the great Bolo Yeung from “Bloodsport” for s…

Review: A Stranger Among Us

Melanie Griffith plays a tough cop (!) who moves into the Hasidic Jewish community (!) to solve a murder and jewel heist (!!). In the meantime she starts to have romantic feelings for a pensive young Jewish scholar (Eric Thal), hoping to become the next Rebbe (or head Rabbi). Lee Richardson plays the current Rebbe, who isn’t happy with Griffith’s suggestion that one of his own might be in on the crime, if not the actual perpetrator. Jamey Sheridan plays Griffith’s injured partner on the force and occasional fuck buddy, John Pankow is a Jewish cop who nonetheless isn’t a fan of the Hasidic sect, James Gandolfini plays one of a pair of mobsters, and Mia Sara plays a meek Jewish girl who helps Griffith adjust to her new surroundings.

Sidney Lumet might just be the most schizophrenic filmmaker of all-time. When on target, some of the greatest films ever made were the result; “12 Angry Men”, “The Hill”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Network”, and “Serpico”. Hell, even “The Offence” and “The Deadly…